Munich — UnternehmerTUM, Europe’s largest center for innovation and start-ups, is launching CIRCULAR REPUBLIC, a unique combination of forces in the field of Circular Economy. True sustainability and thus climate neutrality can only be achieved if we succeed in massively reducing resource consumption and rethinking established processes. This enormous challenge offers both companies and start-ups immense business potential and a wide range of opportunities for innovative business models. They can be crucial in making Europe more resilient by making it less dependent on global supply chains in the long term.
Climate and energy crisis, population growth, species extinction, fragile supply chains and increasing resource scarcity: Circular Economy is a key to solving existential crises. In line with the vision of a sustainable and people-centered future for Germany and Europe, UnternehmerTUM aims to create a central platform for the bundling and active shaping of such ideas in Munich. Circular economy is understood as a regenerative economic system in which resources are kept in cycles and whose goal is to decouple value creation from resource consumption.
Circularity works best in the ecosystem
CIRCULAR REPUBLIC supports companies and start-ups in further developing their innovations and ideas for the Circular Economy in line with market requirements and transforming them into concrete business models. In addition, the initiative networks companies and start-ups with relevant players from science, business and the venture capital industry. In this context, the innovation ecosystem of UnternehmerTUM plays a crucial role: The initiative specifically offers access to the latest research findings from the field of Circular Economy at Technische Universität München and itself provides advice on entrepreneurial issues and challenges. A central service also consists of directly networking companies and start-ups in so-called “multi-stakeholder projects” and acting as a joint platform for the exchange of knowledge and experience. Ideally, the projects developed will then find their way into concrete application.
The initiative was launched with founding partner BMW AG. The first partner companies include SAP, PreZero and Tengelmann.
Interdisciplinary founding trio
To be able to fully address the field of Circular Economy, you need diverse perspectives and a team with very different backgrounds. The founding team of the initiative includes Dr. Susanne Kadner, Dr. Matthias Ballweg and Niclas Mauß (Photo © CIRCULAR REPUBLIC). Kadner previously initiated and led the Circular Economy Initiative Germany. Before joining CIRCULAR REPUBLIC, Ballweg was responsible for SYSTEMIQ’s global Circular Economy activities and Mauß initiated and established Germany’s largest Circular Economy research network at the Technical University of Munich.
The first “multi-stakeholder project” will focus on the textile industry — one of the least circular sectors of all. Start-ups already offer numerous partial solutions here — such as recycling technologies — but there is a lack of a cross-industry solution that is now being jointly developed. Another project will subsequently revolve around the recycling of batteries. The findings developed in the initiative — for example, on the start-up landscape in the Circular Economy sector — will also be shared with the public. A specially initiated festival will take place in Munich from November 15–18, 2023, and aims to bring together outstanding players in the circular economy.
Dr. Matthias Ballweg, Co-Founder and Director of CIRCULAR REPUBLIC, says: “The global developments around climate, lack of resources or supply shortages, as well as the accompanying regulatory consequences show: In the 30s of this century, there will no longer be a successful business model based on the exploitation of primary raw materials. The Circular Economy will be the key to solving the climate crisis and at the same time the driving force for innovation and prosperity in Europe. The large number of startups working on the topic of the Circular Economy — we have identified almost 400 of them in Germany alone — is another indicator that this is where the future lies.“
The Circular Economy is the basis for a prosperous, resilient and sustainable economy. As part of UnternehmerTUM, Europe’s largest center for innovation and startup, CIRCULAR REPUBLIC empowers companies and startups to realize circular economy innovations and develop new business models. As a platform, the initiative networks relevant actors and thus aims to set system-changing impulses along the entire value chain.